May
1

Hands-on: HTC Snap review

First Look
Windows Phone
by
Andy Betts

The HTC Snap is a Windows Mobile 6.1 Standard phone that HTC will no doubt hope can match the recent successes of the BlackBerry Curve and Nokia E71

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The HTC Snap is a Windows Mobile 6.1 Standard phone that HTC will no doubt hope can match the recent successes of the BlackBerry Curve and Nokia E71.

It comes with a full qwerty thumbboard plus all the expected specs: wi-fi, HSDPA, GPS etc., plus one stand-out software feature which HTC calls Inner Circle.

Having spent some time with a near-final Snap over the last couple of days, here are my thoughts on what you can expect from this new Windows smartphone.

Design
Very BlackBerry Curve. It’s much nicer than it looks in the pictures: it’s thin, light and rather stylish.

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Keyboard
Hugely impressive. The keys are larger than on equivalent devices, and have a satisfyingly clicky feel to them. Without doubt one of the best I’ve used, if not the best.

The only minor complaint I had with it was with the inclusion of an extra key (TAB) on the second row. On virtually every other device the left-most key is A, and I constantly found myself hitting the TAB key when I wanted to type an ‘A’. It’s something you’d get used to though.

Trackball
There are lots of settings to tweak the sensitivity, and you’ll probably need to play with them quite a bit to get it set up properly. The default settings are very slow.

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Inner Circle
Inner Circle essentially just filters your inbox to show you messages from key selected contacts. In practice it is a surprisingly slight feature, given how much emphasis HTC is putting on it in their marketing, but this is where the genius lies: it just works. It integrates into the email and contacts apps well and is a cinch to use.

And you will use it,too – and you can expect other phone manufacturers to come up with something similar of their own very soon.

Camera
Two megapixels; purely functional. Here’s a sample:

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Other software
HTC has brought some of the apps from its touch screen devices (including photo viewer and MP3 player), which are all welcome additions. Web browsing is via Internet Explorer 6, the best version yet, but still a way behind the best third party mobile browsers, and with a tendency to grind to a halt when worked too hard. You can watch YouTube videos in the browser window – in theory, at least. They are jerky and not shrunk to fit the window. Windows Mobile 6.1 Standard is looking better than ever, but it still riddled with annoying quirks, and you still can’t create new documents in Word Mobile.

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Overall the HTC Snap is a decent business device, far better than I was originally expecting but still nothing revolutionary. Inner Circle is a brilliant feature but is not a selling point on its own, and the keyboard is also very impressive.

I doubt it will have the same crossover appeal as the Nokia E71 or the BlackBerry Curves, but does give a solid Windows option for those looking for an email-oriented device.

Check out our screenshot gallery for more on the HTC Snap.

The HTC Snap will be available to buy online through Devicewire.

Note – The unit we tested was not quite a final version, but seemed very close. There were no obvious stability or usability issues.

Popularity: 12% [?]

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    13 Comments »

    • Shaun Mc said:

      Still looks quite good. I guess the price is good as well, until you compare it to something like an E63.

    • Rick said:

      This thing looks pretty cool. I actually am impressed. I carry a treo 800W and an iPhone. My treo still does the majority of my work and I am awaiting the palm pre to see how WebOs fairs but if I decide to stick with a WinMo phone this phone is going to be at the top of my list.

    • blued888 said:

      Is the trackball a good enough reason to not include a touchscreen display?

    • sreenivaskampala said:

      When it will be released in India & what would be the price?

    • *k0ri* said:

      I’ve never had a blackberry or pal treo or anything, but I have the tmobile g1–which is also an htc device and I love it. The updates are much worth it and it does just about everything. This phone makes me want to stick with htc phones for good now. Me and my boyfriend are deciding on which cellphone company to go with next and if we decide to go with sprint, this phone is going to be on the top of my list. =)

    • Kelvin76 said:

      Not sure if people use it, probably because there is no driving factor now, but if google starts indexing that metadata, we’ll see more videos have metadata injected in. ,

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